What follows is a simple introduction to Filianism a sort of Filianism 101. I would suggest that for persons who wish a more authoritve introduction to Filianism that they should read the excellent introduction to Filianism that exists within the Chapel of Our Mother God site entitled appropriately “What is Filianism?” What I write below comes from some one who while he admires the achievements of Filianism and has incorporated much of Filianic religion into his own life is not an orthodox believer. If authentic Filianism is understood as being the first community’s understanding of the religion then what I describe here and in future articles is not authenic Filianism. However it is an interpretation which makes sense to me.
The Latin word for Daughter is Filia. Thus Filianism is the religion of Filia, the Daughter. The modern religion of Filianism (many of its aspects are premodern) was initiated in the Oxford, England of the early 1970s. At that time a member(s) of a small group of female students of Oxford University’s Lady Margaret’s Hall composed a small group of short writings which came to serve as the basis of a religion centered on the adoration and worship of Dea / the Goddess for several small groups of women. The two most important of which were the Ekklesia Madriana,the Community of the Madrians and the and the Aristasian Community, which still exists today under the name of the Daughters of Shining Harmony.
These writings, not named originally, are commonly known as the Filianic, Madrian, or De’anic scriptures. While certain other aspects of Filianic theology and practice such as its Wheel of the Year and its Angelology were latter developed respectively by the Madrian and the Aristasian Communities; without the Filianic scriptures the Filianic religion would not exist.
The Filianic Scriptures is divided into two sections. One section normally called the “Teachings of the Daughter” is made up of 16 short chapters, some of these being less than a page in length and others being several pages long. These chapters are inevitably inspired by a strong devotion to Dea and often have great theological depth. Much that is within these writings is traditional in nature, that is they reinforce perennial truths which have been taught by many religious traditions for millennium. However in spite of this fact, these teaching have been formulated with great originality.
Some examples. From the Clew of the Horse:
“She that is still is the center…She who scatters the colours, it is She who governs the world – She takes on unnumbered shapes and numberless conditions she enters…. She who scatters the colours , it is she who governs the world….She assumes all shapes , in every form and likeness; for she is of the three strains commingled… Calm your mind and bring it to the garden of your Lady; to the peaceful garden to rest by gentle streams”
From the “Temple of the Heart” “Know your own heart and make examination thereof… But within the inner most temple of your heart you shall find the seas, the heavens and all the illimitable cosmos….Around the temple of your heart grows a garden overgrown with with thorns, the thorns of kear. Know then your heart and render it to me and I shall lead you to the innermost temple of your heart whose form is the form of a rose.”
Of Nature within the “Way of Simplicity.” “All of nature is a vast and subtle music. Honor in all things the times and the seasons keeping fast in times of fast … rejoicing in times of feasting.”
A more somber message from the Crystal Tablet.
“Existence is a web of tapestry…Each crossroad is a choice and every choice has a spiritual meaning. In each turning, we choose either to come closer to Perfection or else to move away from Her. In the first way, the soul perfects itself in beauty; in the second, it grows duller and coarser. In the first way, it learns happiness even in dearth and gathers riches of the spirit; in the second, it learns pain even amid opulence and the spirit walks in rags. Where lead the paths? The first leads to the foot of the Celestial throne; the second to the dark gates of the realm of death.”
While many persons can read the “Teachings of the Daughter” with appreciation because of universal nature of much of its teaching, the other major subsection of the Filianic scriptures which is comprised of the Mythos of the Creation and the Descent of the Daughter is different. This section clearly marks out the distinct nature of Filianic belief which makes it clearly “Filianic” in the same way that the Christian story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity a unique religion
The Creation Mythos tells the story of the creation of the universe in several stages by the “Mother of all Things. The first creation by the Mother is perfect and unaffected by materiality. For example no darkness, night, or sorrow exists within this creation. All is in a state of pure delight, energy and joy. Then a fall occurs which results in the eventual descent of the universe into matter and physicality. It is then that darkness, night and rest arrive for the first time on the earth. The first Daughter weeps the first tears. The consequences of this Fall is described in this manner. “And the world was beautiful but not so beautiful as it formerly had been.” As a result of this fall the Mother states “I shall not live as close to you as before, but still I shall pour blessings upon you, and you shall give me gifts: not every moment as before, for you have learned to tire.” Again the result of the fall is described thusly, “For a terrible abyss had opened to lie between the world and She, and her creatures could not look upon her brightness.”
In order to repair the damage by the fall of the First Daughter, the Mother conceives and ultimately gives birth to a Daughter “who was not separate from Her,but was one with Her, and the Child of her Light” This Daughter would be called the “Princess of the Light, Princess and Priestess of the World” and “would carry the Light of Dea into every part of creation, even into the most desolate of the places of darkness.” She would act as the mediator between the new more physical world of beings and the Mother.
When the Daughter is born she first rules the earth directly for a time. However ultimately she decides to complete her mission and penetrate even until “the darkness of places” She must penetrate even further into the realms of death and evil to bring the light of the Mother even into these places. Thus the story continues with the Daughter’s descent even into the realm of death, her suffering and death, and finally by her consequent rescue from that realm by the Mother. By her sacrifice the Daughter in fact has redeemed all of reality.
On reading the Mythos many will be struck by many of its strong resemblances to the central mythos of Christianity. That should not be surprising. After all the anonymous authoress of the Filianic Scriptures was a student of Oxford University a center of Christian learning for hundreds of years. It was inevitable that she would have used forms of thought shaped by the Christian mythos to express the Filianic mythos dedicated to God the Mother. A belief that is common within Christianity is that sacred scriptures are supposed to be pure unadulterated words straight from the mouth of God. No mediation from the intellectual and religious culture of the day and no active thought on the part of the author plays any role in the formation of scripture.
The reverse is entirely the case. What is clear is that each or the great prophets of human history has utilized the thought patterns of her or his own particular culture, time and place to understand the “revelation of God / Dea and to communicate this revelation to his or her own community. Furthermore it is also probable that no revelation comes in a form that is totally divorced from human error or lack of understanding.
The evidence for this understanding of revelation is strong. For example the Jewish religion developed out of the pagan polytheism of Canaan. El was the high God of Canaan and Yahweh was initially only a tribal God of the Transjordan nomadic Shasu tribes of Yhw. The teachings of Jesus which launched Christianity clearly were based on a radical interpretation of Judaism as also were the teachings of Paul. One can see the same process in the Koran of Mohammad. Mohammad may have received the Koran in a state of trance or prophetic ecstasy. But it is also clear that many of the stories in the Koran came out of the culture of the Jewish tribes of Medina of the 7th century CE. Much also came out of Christian heretical traditions. What is clear is that God / Dea meets the prophet or seer where he or she is and uses the contents of that prophet’s heart and mind as the vehicle for the divine Word. That is how the Filianic scriptures were composed as well.